For more than 30 years, legendary New York recording studio the Hit Factory has been witness to some of rock, hip-hop and R&B’s greatest highs (and lows).
Bruce Springsteen recorded parts of Born in the U.S.A. there. John Lennon recorded his Double Fantasy album there, and a little more than a month after the album’s release, he would be shot to death returning home from the studio. Whitney Houston’s smash “I Will Always Love You” from “The Bodyguard” was recorded at the Hit Factory. And in 2000, a young 50 Cent was stabbed outside the studio.
Now, all those events will fade a little further into the past, as the Hit Factory is shutting its doors for good — the victim of technological advances that made home recording cheaper and easier than the big-studio experience. The other Hit Factory, in Miami, will remain open and serve as the new base of operations for Hit Factory Inc.
“The Hit Factory paved the way for how recording studios approached the artistic process of making music,” studio owner Janice Germano said in a statement Thursday. “In doing so, it forever changed the way artists thought about creating records and raised the art form to a new level of innovation. That approach will continue in its Miami facility.”
Germano’s husband, Ed, purchased the Hit Factory in 1975 and moved the studio from its old digs on West 48th Street to a swanky 100,000 square-foot facility with seven recording studios and five rehearsal suites on West 54th Street. The large studios — plus Germano’s reputation for doing anything and everything to make visiting musicians happy (he would rip up carpeting if it bothered the eye, or fill a studio with hay to make a country musician feel more at home) — made the Hit Factory the place to record.
In addition to Springsteen, Lennon, Houston and 50 Cent, Michael Jackson, Madonna, U2, Paul Simon, Run-DMC, Jay-Z and Beyoncé have also laid down tracks at the studio. In 1994 the studio made history when its output collected 41 Grammy nominations, thanks in large part to the strength of “The Bodyguard” soundtrack.